As visitors approach the Alimentos exhibit inside the Triton Museum, intricate glass sculptures fill one’s line of sight and, in an otherwise quiet environment, visitors can hear sounds of bustling people and music?
“I traveled to Oaxaca and recorded over 60 hours of ambient sounds in and around traditional outdoor markets,” said Viviana Paredes, the artist behind the Alimentos exhibit. Paredes says that much like an aroma, including an auditory element is meant to evoke memories.
The word “alimentos” translates to “foods” or “nourishment” in English. “My intention with the work is to touch on a deeply rich tradition of foods which is a huge part of our Mexican cultural history,” said Paredes.
The maguey plant, or agave, is seen throughout several of the art pieces. The largest art piece in the room is titled Maguey House, which is made from deconstructed bottles of Patron Tequila — a tequila that is made with agave.
The agave plant and its medicinal uses holds special significance to Paredes. “My grandmother was a practicing curandera (a healer). She was of a tradition that utilizes herbal knowledge of medicinal plants to heal not just the body but also the spirit,” Paredes said. “I create work that expresses the delicate interrelationship of the elements of the natural world and the disconnection modern society has to nature.”
On her decision to use glass to create art, Paredes said, “I used glass over other materials because it allows me to place a lens on my ideas or concepts. We see the world through glass, from out our windows or the glasses that we wear.”
Alimentos: Glass Work by Viviana Paredes is in the Triton Museum through Oct. 28, 2018. For more information, visit www.tritonmuseum.org/exhibitions_paredes.php